Review Article
Volume 7 Issue 5 - 2020
The Search for “Herbs Superior” to Improve Cardiovascular Function, Boost Endurance Capacity, and Mitigate Metabolic Dysfunction
Nicholas A Kerna1*, Uzoamaka Nwokorie2,3, Abdullah Hafid2,3, Priscilla Anusiem2,3, Shain Waugh2,3, Silile Ndhlovu Dube2,3 and Onyeka Olisemeka2,3
1SMC–Medical Research, Thailand
2University of Health and Humanities, Tortola, BVI
3University of Science, Arts and Technology, Montserrat, BWI
*Corresponding Author: Nicholas A Kerna, POB47 Phatphong, Suriwongse Road, Bangkok, Thailand 10500.
Received: March 26, 2020; Published: April 11, 2020


Adaptogen is a term used for specific substances that increase the body’s resistance to nonspecific stress. Adaptogens contribute to a biochemical change in an organism that generates a more effective response than the body might exhibit without them. Noted Soviet researcher, Nikolai V. Lazarev described an adaptogen as "an agent that allows an organism to counter adverse physical, chemical, or biological stressors by raising nonspecific resistance toward such stress, thus allowing the organism to adapt to the stressful circumstances”. Some of the earliest scientific research on natural adaptogens was done on Panax ginseng (Asian ginseng) that was found to enhance physical performance in Soviet athletes. Subsequently, thousands of clinical trials were performed on over four thousand plants and the results published in peer-reviewed journals. Adaptogenic herbs can influence the corticosteroidal effect of the adrenal glands through the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis, enhance endurance capacity, improve cardiovascular function, and alter metabolic function. The bioactive constituents of many adaptogenic herbs fall into two general chemical classes, terpenes or polyphenols, that are secondary metabolites of specific adaptogenic plants. Also, polysaccharides act, in part, as immunomodulators. Adaptogens can increase oxygen and neuroreceptor efficiency, influence the levels and activity of monoamines and opioid peptides, and enhance the physiological response to stressors. Over time, many definitions of adaptogens have been put forth, which demonstrates a lack of consensus regarding adaptogens in the scientific community, specifically to their characteristics and mechanisms of action. However, their beneficial effects in humans seem far-reaching and have been reported by scientists and observed for centuries in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). There remains the challenge of establishing the efficacy of these adaptogenic herbs as each herb contains numerous constituents; however, an isolated constituent might or might not work as well as the whole phytocomplex. Although many of these herbal remedies have been used for hundreds to thousands of years, the scientific evidence regarding their safety and efficacy is inadequate and inconclusive. Nevertheless, the beneficial effects of long-term administration of specific adaptogenic herbs is more established than those of short-term administration. This review provides a historical backdrop to the research regarding adaptogenic herbs and their proposed beneficial (and in some cases confirmed) applications in the body’s response to stress.

Keywords: Ayurvedic; Adaptogen; Ashwagandha; Ginseng; Heart Disease; Hypertension; Immune System


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Citation: Nicholas A Kerna., et al. “The Search for “Herbs Superior” to Improve Cardiovascular Function, Boost Endurance Capacity, and Mitigate Metabolic Dysfunction”. EC Cardiology 7.5 (2020): 21-30.

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